Åbo Akademi University
|Latin: Academia Aboensis|
|Colors||Red and Yellow|
Åbo Akademi University (Swedish: Åbo Akademi [ˈoːbʊ akadɛˈmiː]) is the only exclusively Swedish language multi-faculty university in Finland (or anywhere outside Sweden). It is located mainly in Turku (Åbo is the Swedish name of the city) but has also activities in Vaasa. It is said to have one of the most prestigious business programs in the world (in 1999). Åbo Akademi should not be confused with the Royal Academy of Åbo, which was founded in 1640, but moved to Helsinki after the Turku fire of 1827 and is today known as the University of Helsinki.
Åbo Akademi was founded by private donations in 1918 as the third university in Finland, both to let Turku again become a university town and because it was felt that the Swedish language was threatened at the University of Helsinki. The Finnish University of Turku was founded in 1920, also by private donations and for similar reasons. Åbo Akademi was a private institution until 1981, when it was turned into a public institution.
As the only uni-lingually Swedish multi-faculty university in the world outside Sweden and consequently the only one in Finland, Åbo Akademi University is responsible for higher education for a large proportion of the Swedish-speaking population. This role has many implications for education and research as well as for the social environment. As there are few students in most subjects, cooperation between faculties and with other universities is very important.
A significant minority of the students are Finnish-speaking. While Turku in itself is mostly Finnish, the university provides a strong Swedish environment. Most of the students, regardless of original language, will be functionally bilingual when finishing their studies.
The university has a policy that non-Swedish speaking applicants from the Nordic countries are required to participate in a Swedish language test, in order to prove their ability to successfully study in Swedish. Applicants from non-Nordic countries can, however, choose between Swedish or English language tests.
The university consists of four faculties:
- Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology (located in Turku)
- Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies (located in Vaasa)
- Faculty of Science and Engineering (located in Turku, with some activity also in Vaasa)
- Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics (located in Turku, with some activity also in Vaasa)
In addition, there are several other units and joint programs, such as:
- Language Centre
- Centre for Lifelong Learning
- Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History
- Institute of Human Rights
- Turku PET Centre (jointly run by Turku University, Åbo Akademi and the Turku University Hospital)
- Turku Centre for Computer Science (TUCS) (in co-operation with Turku University, among others)
- Turku Centre for Biotechnology (in co-operation with Turku University, among others)
- Vasa övningsskola, located in Vaasa, is the normal school of the teacher training programme.
When the university was turned into a public institution the foundation Stiftelsen för Åbo Akademi remained. Besides maintaining many of the university buildings, it is also a significant donor. Because of new legislation regarding higher education, it is planned to turn universities in Finland into semi-private institutions.
The following people have served as rectors of Åbo Akademi:
- 1918–1921: Edvard Westermarck
- 1921–1929: Severin Johansson
- 1929–1936: Otto Andersson
- 1936–1942: Rolf Pipping
- 1942–1950: Georg Olof Rosenqvist
- 1950–1957: Lars Erik Taxell
- 1957–1962: Sven Lindman
- 1962–1966: Oscar Nikula
- 1966–1969: Nils Erik Enkvist
- 1969–1975: Karl-Gustav Fogel
- 1975–1978: Kurt Nyholm
- 1978–1982: Bill Widén
- 1982–1988: Caj-Gunnar Lindström
- 1988–1997: Bengt Stenlund
- 1997–2005: Gustav Björkstrand
- 2006–2014: Jorma Mattinen
- 2015—: Mikko Hupa
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